Charles McGee, a decorated military pilot with the groundbreaking all-black Tuskegee Airman who flew combat missions in three wars, died Sunday. He was 102.
McGee died peacefully in his sleep, his family said in a statement issued to Reuters.
“He had his right hand over his heart and smiled calmly,” his youngest daughter Yvonne McGee said in a statement released by the spokeswoman.
McGee flew 409 fighter missions during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
His famous career began with the Army Air Corps in 1942, when at the age of 23 he became one of the first black military pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
He was among only a few pilots who flew missions in all three wars.
“You could say that one of the things we fought for was equality. Equal opportunities. We knew we had the same skills, or better, “he told The Associated Press in a 1995 interview.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin responded to McGee’s death on Twitter, calling him an American hero.
After turning 100, McGee was promoted to the one-star rank as brigadier general during a congressional hearing signed by then-President Donald Trump
McGee leaves behind his three children, 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
With Post wires